Breaking Down the Best: DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S Comparison

How do you choose between these two powerful camera drones, the DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S? Since the release of the DJI Mavic, a number of drones with the same foldable airframe have come out, some smaller and some bigger. Both the DJI Air 2S and the DJI Mavic 3 have large sensors that make them appealing to modern creatives. Which one you choose will depend on what you want to record and how much you want to spend. Despite other factors, a DCW weighed more than an aid.
There are two types of the Mavic 3, the Mavic 3, which records to a conventional micro SD card, and the Cine edition, which has an on-board SSD with 1TB of storage to enable the capture of uncompressed video formats such as Apple ProRes 422 HQ, hence accelerating the creation of movies.
This comparison focuses primarily on the normal Mavic 3, but if your goals are entirely cinematic, we’d also want you to dedicate your life to our Mavic 3 Cine vs. Inspire 2 comparison.

DJI Mavic 3 v Air 2S: Quick Similarities

  1. Both the DJI Mavic 3 and the DJI Mavic Air 2S are small, portable drones that are made to be easy to carry and fly.
  2. Both drones have high-quality cameras that can take photos and videos with a lot of detail.
  3. Both drones have a number of smart flight modes and features, like ActiveTrack, QuickShots, and Panoramas, that let users take creative videos and photos.
  4. Both of these drones have long battery lives. The Mavic 3 can fly for up to 45 minutes, and the Mavic Air 2S can fly for up to 34 minutes.
dji mavic 3 classic

DJI Mavic 3 v Air 2S: Design

The DJI Air 2S is the more portable option because its folded dimensions are smaller than those of the Mavic 3 (221×96.3×90.3mm) and it weighs 300 g less than the Mavic 3. In contrast to the Air 2S’s gimbal cover, the Mavic 3’s strange rubbery gimbal mask protects the drone and keeps the propellers tucked in against the sides.
In its ready-to-fly state, the Mavic 3 has dimensions of 347.5 283 107.7 mm, while the Air 2S collapses down to a more manageable 183 253 77 mm. In practical terms, this is probably not going to make a huge difference unless you’re planning on squeezing your drone through particularly narrow openings.
The Mavic 3 definitely appears and feels more sturdy than the Air 2S. Unlike the Air 2S, the battery goes into the device from the back.
The battery on the Mavic 3 is much bigger, so it can fly for up to 46 minutes instead of 31 minutes. This is why the drone is bigger and heavier overall.
Winner: DJI Air 2S
DJI Mavic Air 2 in hand

DJI Mavic 3 vs Mavic Air 2: Controller & range

The regular Mavic 3 and Air 2S both include essentially the same controller, and it’s hard to find any major flaws in its design. Unscrew the control sticks and put them in the grips. Connect your phone to the device using the cable that comes with it. Push down the antenna and grip to make the device small enough to fit in your bag.
We really like how the phone link cable (whether it’s an iPhone cable or a USB cable) fits neatly into a compartment under the antenna. This means that you don’t have to find and reconnect it before every flight, as you had to do with some DJI drones in the past and still do with some others today.
Both are of high quality, but the Mavic 3 has a marginal range advantage in the FCC-approved increased radio power zone. The Mavic 3’s 60 fps live view is what really sets it apart from the Air 2S, making the FPV footage appear stunning at closer ranges. Since there are four antennas in each craft, communication breakdowns are quite uncommon.
Those who get the Mavic 3 Cine bundle get a few extras, like the RC Pro controller with a built-in screen and more professional control sticks. However, the regular remote isn’t as much of a hassle as its predecessors were, especially since it can charge your phone while it’s in use and still works for 4 hours instead of the whole 6.
Winner: DJI Mavic 3

 DJI Mavic 3 Cine vs Air 2S: Maneuverability and speed

The Mavic 3 is a little faster than the Air 2S in terms of actual speed. It can climb at 8 meters per second (m/s), while the Air 2S can only climb at 6 m/s.
The highest speed of both is 19 meters per second (42 miles per hour), and while the Air 2S maintains a more stable altitude during its flight, the faster climb speed is a technical victory for the latter.
Even though a higher maximum climb means that the motors always put out more power, in practice this is a tie unless you often need to quickly show the ground below you.
When it comes to flying, the Mavic 3 and Air 2S are fairly comparable, especially if you go with the base model of the Mavic 3, as they both come with the same controller.
The only difference is that it may feel harder to get a slow yaw with the Mavic 3, but this is easy to fix by changing the control curves.
Users accustomed to the ‘Go 4’ app on older DJI drones often had trouble locating this setting and wrongly assumed that the device must be defective.
We’d be more worried by the fact that you can yaw and pitch rather abruptly while trying to land; the pros’ suggestion is to not try this too close to a tree.
Winner: Tie



 DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S:  Gimbal & Camera Performance

The gimbal-mounted camera of the Air 2S has a 20MP 1-inch type CMOS sensor that can take high-quality RAW, JPEG, and HDR photos as well as great videos. Video can be captured at up to 5.4 kilobits per second (kbps) at 30 frames per second (fps), 4 kilobits per second (fps) at up to 3840 by 2160, and full high definition (HD) at up to 120 fps.
The primary Mavic 3 camera uses a 20-megapixel sensor of the Four Thirds variety. In other words, the Mavic 3 has a sensor that is about twice as large as the sensor in the Air 2S, giving it a significant advantage in terms of image quality, giving you something akin to a respectable mirrorless camera in the sky. The maximum frame rate for 5.1K video is 50 fps, while DCI 4K (4096×2160) can reach 120 fps and Full HD can reach 200 fps.
The aperture on the Mavic 3 can be changed from f/2.8 to f/11, making it more flexible than the Air 2S, which has a fixed aperture of f/2.8.
The secondary camera on the Mavic 3 isn’t ideal for stills or videos, but its 162mm (equivalent) f/4.4 lens and up to 28x hybrid zoom are helpful for sizing up distant subjects to see if it’s worth getting closer to grab a shot with the primary camera’s 24mm lens.

Winner: DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S: Still photos

Both the DJI Mavic 3 and the DJI Mavic Air 2S have excellent cameras that can take beautiful still images.
With an incredible 48 megapixels, the camera on the Mavic 3 can take pictures with clarity and detail that will blow your mind. In addition, the camera is stabilized on three axes by a gimbal, so your shots will be completely free of blur.
The camera of the Mavic Air 2S is also very good, and it boasts a resolution of 64 megapixels. A 3-axis gimbal is also included to help stabilize the camera and make sure the video is steady and doesn’t shake.
Both drones provide a number of different shooting modes and adjustments to help you get the shot you want. You can get the most out of your images with the help of features like high dynamic range (HDR), automatic exposure bracketing (AEB), and RAW format support.
Both the DJI Mavic 3 and the DJI Mavic Air 2S have top-notch photo-taking features and are versatile enough to shoot everything from scenic views of cities and natural landscapes to close-ups of faces and even action sequences.

Winner: Tie

dji mavic 3 captured image
DJI mavic 3 captured image during sunset
DJI air 2s captured image during sunset
DJI air 2s captured image during sunset

 DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S: Video

The regular Mavic 3 can also record MP4 and MP5 video at up to 200 bps, but the Mavic 3 Cine, which costs more than twice as much, can also record Apple ProRes 422 HQ video on its 1 TB of built-in storage.
To some extent, this is the video equivalent of Raw in that it allows for extensive tonal modification in post-production; but, it also has the major advantage of being editable straight from the drone. It’s a sizable file, to be sure, but once you get it into Final Cut Pro, you won’t have time for a “rendering” cup of tea (or whatever creative stimulant you like; we won’t judge).
Theoretically, the standard Mavic 3’s video quality is superior to that of the Air 2S’s, with a maximum bitrate of 200 Mbps compared to 150 Mbps. However, in practice, it is difficult to tell the difference between the two drones’ 4K footage due to compression, even when examining fine details like trees. When shooting in D-Log, the Air 2S appears to have slightly greater contrast.
The 12MP tele camera on the Mavic 3 can only shoot in 4K at 30 fps (or 1080p), but the 162mm equivalent focal length still provides a unique viewpoint. In any case, it’s puzzling that frame rates of at least 24 fps and, preferably, 50 fps and 60 fps aren’t planned.

Winner: DJI Mavic 3


 DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S: Software features

Before the Mavic 3 came out, people thought that the DJI Fly app was only for customers. However, it seems that the “Go 4” app is no longer used at all when controlling either drone. Aside from the upgraded camera and lens, the two planes have mostly the same features. The Mavic 3’s pilot assistance software (APAS), on the other hand, has been updated from version 4 to version 5.
After a long wait for the software update to take effect, users will now be able to enjoy a little more dependable experience with ActiveTrack’s ability to zero in on and track a moving person or vehicle. Drones can track humans by detecting their path and using object avoidance to stay with them even if obstacles are in the way; one drone was even able to fly past the trees in the image, but this was more of a feat of chance than robotic judgment.
Early testing showed that the Mavic 3’s APAS 5 had problems distinguishing between people, vehicles, and other objects, like a grassy field. This wasn’t very promising, and it shows that the technology hasn’t progressed as much as we’d hoped since the Air 2S. The tools can be valuable alternatives to a second pilot, but we don’t think the Mavic 3 is as far advanced as some of the promotional movies claim.

Winner: Tie

DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S: Battery life

Whether or not the Air 2S’s 3,500 or 3,750 mAh 3-cell battery is less powerful than the 5,000 mAh 4-cell battery included with the Mavic 3 is debatable. The few volts’ worth of difference offers the extra potential push for higher acceleration and, more practically for most operators, a floating time approaching three quarters of an hour.
It’s important to keep in mind that 30 minutes is still a long time to be in control of an airplane, and that many pilots would be content to land slightly more regularly to change batteries and enjoy a few quiet moments before returning to work. After the battery life reaches 30 minutes, it’s not as important unless you’re shooting multiple “hyperlapse” effects or something else where a few extra seconds in the air could make a big difference.
Getting a hold of a multi-charger is highly recommended for both cases, as it is an additional accessory that comes with the Fly More kit.
Winner: DJI Mavic 3



Active route and Obstacle Avoidance Sensors

The upgraded APAS 5.0 obstacle detection system should be a little better than the one in the Air 2s because it has better software, six fish-eye vision sensors, and two wide-angle sensors that work together to make a 360-degree system.

This way of avoiding something is also used in a new way when it comes to home technology. Instead of flying in a straight line, the new DJI Mavic 3 drone can take a determined route to return home for the first time.

Active Track 5.0 is also an improvement over earlier versions because it lets the drone follow the subject as it moves forward, backward, to the left, to the right, and diagonally, as well as fly next to it. Even if the subject is briefly out of focus, smart software and good cameras can figure out where the subject will be.

 DJI Mavic 3 vs Air 2S: FAQs

Q. Is Mavic Air 2S better than Mavic 3?

The Mavic 3 is the best option for high frame rate shooting, as it is capable of filming at 120 fps in 4K and up to 50 fps in 5.1K. Whereas the Air 2S only goes up to 60 frames per second in 4K, it can achieve 120 frames per second in 1080p.

Q. Is it worth it to move up to the Mavic 3 from the Air 2S?

The DJI Mavic Air 2S is a foldable drone that is capable of shooting 4K video and 20-megapixel photos. It has a 7x optical zoom feature that allows you to get close-up shots without losing image quality.

The Mavic Air 2S is a powerful and feature-rich drone that offers excellent performance and value for its price. However, the DJI Mavic 3 is a newer and more expensive model that costs roughly double the price of the Mavic Air 2S. Even though it can also be folded and shoot 4K video and high-resolution photos, it has even more advanced features and functions. For instance, the Mavic 3 has a better camera that works better in low light, a longer flight time, and a more advanced system for avoiding obstacles.

If you’re looking for a high-quality drone that offers excellent performance and value for its price, the Mavic Air 2S is a great option. However, if you’re willing to pay more for the latest and most advanced technology, the Mavic 3 may be worth considering.

Q. What is the Air 2S’s cine mode?

The drone’s speed in Cine Mode is reduced to 5 meters per second, which is slow but faster than in the default Tripod Mode. A lot of people who fly drones have been bugging DJI to bring back tripod mode. “You ditched it for cine mode once you launched the Mavic Air 2 in 2020.”

Q. Can the DJI Mavic air 2S track your location?

It’s true that the DJI Mavic Air 2S has GPS and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) capabilities, allowing it to precisely monitor its position in the sky.
The Mavic Air 2S has a lot of features that take advantage of the drone’s ability to track its position in the air. This makes in-flight operations more efficient and safe. The Mavic Air 2S, for example, uses global positioning system (GPS) and global navigation satellite system (GLONASS) data to let it hover steadily and to help it fly to a specific destination or along a predefined flight path.
The Mavic Air 2S also has a number of safety features that use GPS and GLONASS data to help it avoid obstacles and stay in the area where it is allowed to fly.

 DJI Mavic 3 vs DJI Air 2S: Final Thoughts

In this case, you’ll have to decide between spending sensibly and getting 90 percent of the features you might need, or spending more and getting a few extra perks, like a faster SSD, that you might not use.
The Air 2S’s smaller size and portability are advantages, but the Mavic 3’s weight of 249 g puts it at a disadvantage in some situations when it is effectively equivalent to a 19 kg (40 lb) drone.
The Mavic 3’s camera appears to be much more flexible at first glance, but we’d wager that you’d just use the primary camera. In this situation, the larger sensor size still puts you ahead, but not by as much as you might think. The camera on the Air 2S is better than anyone could have expected from a drone of this size not too long ago, and it’s the same size as the Mavic 2 Pro, which was once everyone’s dream drone.
Even though the Mavic 3 can avoid obstacles better than the Air 2S, many professionals turn this feature off because they think it slows down the drone’s overall performance.
However, the Air 2S has a large enough sensor to take excellent images and video in low light, can capture greater quality than 4K, and, to be very honest, seems to compete visually with the Mavic 3, especially when it comes to video. However, if you’re nervous about taking off, the collision avoidance will do its job (even if it doesn’t return to the flight path quite as quickly), making the Mavic 3 an interesting option overall, albeit one that requires you to check a few boxes to justify the higher cost.

Mavic 3 Cine vs. Fly More Combo

Most recent DJI drones come with the option to buy “Fly More Combos,” which are discounted bundles of extra parts like spare propellers, batteries, and charging hubs that come with the basic drone package. The starter drone bundle is all you need to get in the air, but the “Fly More Combos” will have you covered for longer flights and more challenging conditions.

The “Fly More Combo” is back with the Mavic 3, and a “Mavic 3 Premium Cine Combo” is also available. The “Mavic 3 Cine” is a unique aircraft that features 1TB of very fast internal storage and the ability to shoot videos in Apple ProRes 422 HQ, neither of which are included in the “basic package” or the “Fly More Combo.”

The available bundles are outlined below. I took note of the upgrades available in the “Fly More Combo” and the “Cine Premium Combo” compared to the base bundle.

Daniel Wisdom

Daniel Wisdom

As an associate staff writer, Daniel Wisdom brings a unique perspective to his writing. His interests in games and robotics have given him a deep understanding of technology and its impact on society. In his spare time, he enjoys participating in robotics competitions and exploring new hobbies.